Thiruvananthapuram: Rumours of stray dogs turning to man-eaters are giving chills to citizens who reside at Chempakaraman beach on Pulluvila coastal belt here after an elderly woman was mauled to death by around 50 dogs Friday night.
“Unlike in the cities, animal birth control (ABC) programme is something unheard of in all villages under this block panchayat. Stray dog attack in the coastal village has intensified in past three months.
Dogs used to be culled here once upon a time. Our veterinary clinics don’t have the expertise or facilities to spay and neuter them. The dogs are omnipresent as chicken waste from the city is dumped on our beach,” said Johnny J., a block panchayat member from Kanjiramkulam.
Due to the dearth of toilet facilities, children and men folks openly defecate on beaches from Azhimala to Poovar round the clock. Women choose the night to go out and gets bitten up, say residents.
On Thursday, agitated locals swore to cull dogs on their own, since the administration has not been able to provide alternatives. As per recent High Court orders, dog control cells should be formed to coordinate and euthanise critically ill, fatally injured and the rabid ones.
Violent dogs should be isolated till it dies naturally. However, none of this happens. “Our children get attacked while playing on beaches and a man was recently admitted to Neyyattinkara Taluk hospital with 41 bites,” said Shirley Russell, a resident.
Stray dog bite cases have dramatically increased on the city outskirts, and dogs attacked a total of around 6,000 people in the capital. The dearth of anti-rabies vaccine in government hospital often forces citizens to bank on private clinics.
“Last month three school kids and an old man were mauled by stray dogs at Nagaroor near Kilimanoor. Cases are on the high side at Venjaramoodu and Pothencode also,” said Jayaram Krishnan, who keeps a close watch on dog bite cases. An eyewitness says that the limbs of Silvamma, 65, of Pulluvila were eaten by a pack of dogs and doubt they have turned man-eaters.
“Like in the case of other animals, we suspect that the taste of blood has turned them to man eaters,” said Ms Russell. Senior veterinarian LJ Lowrance ruled out the man-eating behaviour of dogs.
“Yes, a pack of dogs can kill people, but it’s very unlikely that they hunt humans and make them food. We are waiting for more ground reports on the incident,” Mr Lawrence said....